Pat Dodson


Florida history remembers Henry Bradley Plant and Henry Morrison Flagler because of the railroads and hotels that these two nineteenth century magnates built and because of the major impact that they had on state politics and on Florida’s economic growth. But Hamilton Disston of Philadelphia preceded them, and in fact, helped make their ventures possible. Disston’s own accomplishments may have had a greater influence than either Plant or Flagler in leading Florida into the twentieth century. A member of the prominent Pennsylvania saw-manufacturing family, D&ton was first attracted to Florida in the 1870s by the lunker black bass that once populated Florida’s lakes and rivers, and these early fishing trips were destined to help change the course of Florida’s history.